Bits and Pieces (while falling to pieces with a cold)

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Sunflower and Pomegranate Studies, oil, 5×10″

After I did these two studies on one piece of Arches Oil Paper focusing on values (started with transparent earth color underpainting), I caught a nasty head cold. I feel super lousy and haven’t had the energy to paint but I’ve done a couple sketches, below.

Pomegranate and persimmons on a brick. 2B pencil in 8x10 moleskine.

Pomegranate and persimmons on a brick. 2B pencil in 8×10 moleskine.

Drawing helped take my mind off my sneezing and nose running like a river.

FarhooD S via Sktchy app. graphite, 11x8

FarhooD S via Sktchy app. graphite, 11×8″

I think I made his hand too small. Here’s his photo on Sktchy:

Less Struggle, More Sunflowers

Sunflowers #4, Oil on Arches Oil Paper, 12x9"

Sunflowers #4, Oil on Arches Oil Paper, 12×9″

I’m still trying to figure out sunflowers. I hate to quit before I’ve succeeded so decided to give it another try, continuing from the four attempts in my last post. Off I  went in search of fresh sunflowers. After striking out at the first two shops, I decided that if they didn’t have any in the next store I would put an end to the sunflower project. But freedom was not yet mine; they had sunflowers.

Below are a couple steps in the process. This time I didn’t spend as long sketching or blocking in and I made a point of starting with darker tones which I think helped. I get fooled by the concept of “yellow” and have trouble really seeing how dark yellow can be in the shadows.


And believe it or not, I’ve started yet another sunflower painting that will be the last one for a while. I’m desperate to get back to portraits and a still life I have in mind.

Mom’s Vintage Perugia Italian Vase

Mom's Perugia Italian Vase, Oil on Arches Oil Paper, 12x9 inches

Mom’s Perugia Italian Vase, Oil on Arches Oil Paper, 12×9 inches

My mother loaned me this beautiful vase years ago to paint. When I was looking for a subject to paint this week it called out to me from the shelf where it’s been waiting for so long. Below is the step-by-step progress of the painting, which is available on DailyPaintworks here. Read More

Happy Solstice! Bouquet for Busby

Bouquet for Busby, ink and watercolor, 11x8.5 inches

Bouquet for Busby, ink and watercolor, 11×8.5 inches

On this shortest day of the year here are some cheery flowers to brighten the darkness.

While I was away visiting my mom last weekend, my cat-sitter Rachel (of McGraw’s Paws) cat-sat for the first time since Busby my tabby cat died. She was sad not seeing him too and left me this stunning bouquet of flowers in his honor and a lovely card with these wise and beautiful words about sorrow that are worth remembering for any loss:

‘When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

~Kahlil Gibran

Busby’s Orchid in Sadie’s Footprint Pot

Orchid for Busby in Sadie Footprint Pot, graphite and watercolor, 11x7 in

Orchid for Busby in Sadie Footprint Pot, graphite and watercolor, 11×7 in

For Mothers’ Day my daughter-in-law Brittney gave me this adorable flower-pot that she and her mom decorated with my grandbaby Sadie’s footprints (dipped in paint) as the wings of a butterfly. Then last week a florist delivered a beautiful double orchid plant to me from my veterinarian in memory of my kitty Busby who, sadly, had died the previous week.

The orchids were a perfect match for the Mothers’ Day pot and combining the two helped ease my mind and lift my spirits. I see the orchid and feel sad for Busby and then see the pot and feel happy about little Sadie. It was fun and challenging to draw while trying to keep track of which flower and bud were which.

Portrait of Kathleen for JKPP and Bonus Azalea

JKPP Gouche sketch of Kathleen, 7.5x5.5 inches

JKPP Gouche sketch of Kathleen, 7.5×5.5 inches

I painted Kathleen (from the Julia Kay Portrait Party) side by side with the flower below but decided to post them as separate images. I’m loving gouache but really struggling with the way light colors turn so much darker when it dries. I actually lightened the sketch above in Photoshop so that it wouldn’t look so scary.

Azalea in Gouache, 7x5 x 5.5 inches

Azalea in Gouache, 7×5 x 5.5 inches

I found this flower (I think it’s an azalea) growing along the sidewalk in the neighborhood and picked off a blossom to paint. The flower is too dark because of my lack of experience with gouache, but I had fun painting it. Gouache is so much fun and I’m especially loving M. Graham Gouache. Now to just learn to mix colors about 4 shades lighter than they look! I mastered doing the opposite with watercolor so I’m (almost) sure I can do it with gouache too.

Wedding Bouquet (FIXED!)

Wedding Bouquet (Fixed), oil on panel, 10x8"

Wedding Bouquet (Fixed), oil on panel, 10×8″

Thank you to everyone who responded to my previous post and offered feedback about whether to try to fix the right-hand rose that was bugging me. I figured if everyone said leave it I would, but if others saw the problem too, I’d try again to fix it. They did, so I did, and now I can look at it without feeling frustrated.

To solve the problems with the rose, I turned the photo and the painting upside down and could immediately see I had the shape wrong. Then I converted the photo to gray-scale to check values. I reshaped and repainted the rose using grayed-down, paler colors. I touched up a few other spots in the painting (back top right flowers, some leaves and small changes to both left roses). I added a black border to simulate how it will be framed.

Now I think the focal point (the middle rose) stands out, and the minor right rose recedes. FYI, the reason these roses don’t look that rose-like is because although I started working from life, I could quickly see that the flowers were about to completely fall apart (it was several days after the wedding) so I took a photo of the almost over roses.

Below Left (AFTER): fixed final painting; Below Right (BEFORE): before adjustments and fixes.

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